That Quarter Life Crisis

I’d say that the quarter life crisis millennials groan about is funny, except, it isn’t.

As much as older generations would like to make light of it and believe that it is just made up, it’s real enough for psychological studies to have been carried out and for publications like The Guardian and Harvard Business Review to have written about it.

If you’re reading this now and you’re in your mid-20s to early 30s, then you probably already have a pretty good understanding of what the quarter life crisis is and what it feels like. But if you don’t, in a nutshell, the quarter life crisis is when YOU DO NOT HAVE A CLUE WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE DOING WITH YOUR LIFE!!!

Officially, the quarter life crisis is characterised by the feeling of disappointment, loneliness, insecurity, and depression. Traditionally, these feelings are attributed to the midlife crisis, but because of a number of factors, people are going through them at a much younger age.

There seems to be a consensus that the latest generation to join the work force has been under an overwhelming amount of pressure to live the way the previous generation did and to get everything just right.

The carefree 20s is practically a non-existent thing, because people now in their 20s are constantly told how this decade should be spent setting up the rest of our lives. At this point we’re supposed to be establishing ourselves at reputable companies. At this point we’re supposed to be looking into getting our own places. At this point we’re supposed to be stable.

And yet stability escapes most of us.

Growing up, life sounded like a simple flowchart with easy equations that’d guarantee success. Study hard, get through college, land a job, get married, live happily ever after.

While it is possible that the flowchart was once foolproof, things aren’t as simple as they used to be. 

The job market is more vicious than it’s ever been, salaries are almost the same as years before despite inflation, the economy is pretty volatile, and have you seen the price of real estate?

It’s not an uphill battle most of us are facing; it’s a climb up Everest while fighting off a pack of wolves and frostbite. It is surmountable, given the right twists of fate and a positive attitude, but it’s a lot more difficult than anyone warned us it would be.

But there’s apparently a good side to feeling overwhelmed by life this early on.

Youth allows us enough time to get over being overwhelmed, feel motivated to do what’s necessary to get to a better place, develop grit, and actually go out and do things.

So relish the anxiety! Embrace the feeling of desperation! Because one day soon, you’ll get over it and start doing what you need to do and get to where you need to be. Then after that, this phase in your life will be but a distant memory.

But for now, hand me a paper bag because I’m hyperventilating over my decisions in life. 

(Unimportant note, but the painting I used for this post turned out to be a self-portrait of myself mid-crisis. This was not intentional, but as soon as both my mom and boyfriend saw it, they both said, “Oh, it’s you!”)

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